Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995The fact that you are reading this post, the title has succeeded in awakening the creative part of your brain.

This is not about soft porn, neither a steamy story to ease your boredom. But a reminder of the consequences if we failed to control our libido.

While having sex in the office provides a different kind of adrenalin and excitement, “do-ing” within the company premises will cause the filing of  administrative cases that may result to  dismissal. There is a proper place for ones sex capades, as the saying goes “don’t shit in your own backyard”.

According to an adventurous acquaintances who find this as an alternative stress reliever, as long as both parties are adults and have mutual consent, and you will not get caught, sex in the office is A-OK

However, there is an equally important law in the Philippines wherein the “consenting adults” alibi may not hold. And it’s “The Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995”.

 

Dont want to be accused of sexual harassment?

 

So entrepreneurs, managers, supervisors, leaders, teachers, coaches and mentors, read along!

 

This law was designed for people in authority, read below the definition

 

SECTION 3. Work, Education or Training -Related, Sexual Harassment Defined.

Work, education or training-related sexual harassment is committed by an employer, employee, manager, supervisor, agent of the employer, teacher, instructor, professor, coach, trainor, or any other person who, having authority, influence or moral ascendancy over another in a work or training or education environment, demands, requests or otherwise requires any sexual favor from the other, regardless of whether the demand, request or requirement for submission is accepted by the object of said Act.

 

Anyway, we may find the below provision a good reason to keep our *ehem* in check

 

SECTION 6. Independent Action for Damages. –

Nothing in this Act shall preclude the victim of work, education or training-related sexual harassment from instituting a separate and independent action for damages and other affirmative relief.

On top of an administrative case with the company, a separate case can also be filed against the offender.

If you are a business owner or part of management team, please do understand that you have an obligation under the law

 

SECTION 4. Duty of the Employer or Head of Office in a Work-related, Education or Training Environment.

It shall be the duty of the employer or the head of the work-related, educational or training environment or institution, to prevent or deter the commission of acts of sexual harassment and to provide the procedures for the resolution, settlement or prosecution of acts of sexual harassment. Towards this end, the employer or head of office shall:

(a) Promulgate appropriate rules and regulations in consultation with and joint1y approved by the employees or students or trainees, through their duly designated representatives, prescribing the procedure for the investigation of sexual harassment cases and the administrative sanctions therefor.

Administrative sanctions shall not be a bar to prosecution in the proper courts for unlawful acts of sexual harassment.

The said rules and regulations issued pursuant to this subsection (a) shall include, among others, guidelines on proper decorum in the workplace and educational or training institutions.

(b) Create a committee on decorum and investigation of cases on sexual harassment. The committee shall conduct meetings, as the case may be, with officers and employees, teachers, instructors, professors, coaches, trainors, and students or trainees to increase understanding and prevent incidents of sexual harassment. It shall also conduct the investigation of alleged cases constituting sexual harassment.

In the case of a work-related environment, the committee shall be composed of at least one (1) representative each from the management, the union, if any, the employees from the supervisory rank, and from the rank and file employees.

In the case of the educational or training institution, the committee shall be composed of at least one (1) representative from the administration, the trainors, instructors, professors or coaches and students or trainees, as the case may be.

The employer or head of office, educational or training institution shall disseminate or post a copy of this Act for the information of all concerned.

 

Employers/Business owner can also be held liable

SECTION 5. Liability of the Employer, Head of Office, Educational or Training Institution. –

The employer or head of office, educational or training institution shall be solidarily liable for damages arising from the acts of sexual harassment committed in the employment, education or training environment if the employer or head of office, educational or training institution is informed of such acts by the offended party and no immediate action is taken.

 

So what would likely be the minimum penalty for the offender?

SECTION 7. Penalties. –

Any person who violates the provisions of this Act shall, upon conviction, be penalized by imprisonment of not less than one (1) month nor more than six (6) months, or a fine of not less than Ten thousand pesos (P10,000) nor more than Twenty thousand pesos (P20,000), or both such fine and imprisonment at the discretion of the court.

Consent to have sex, inside or outside the office, may not hold water if moral ascendancy is present. Besides,  assuming there is mutual consent and there is a relationship between a person of authority (boss or teacher or coach or mentor or professional blogger) and a follower (subordinate, student, student blogger), there is a possibility in the future that the person in authority will dump the staff. The follower then, can get even and use moral ascendancy as leverage in the filing of a complaint against the other party.

Winning the case is a different discussion in itself, but the scandal will have a more dealing effect to the person with moral ascendancy.

While this law is designed to ensure authority is not abused, this can also be used against the person in authority, thus, being naive of this law can be hazardous to ones career or business.

 

I don’t know of a legal case yet of this nature as of this writing (2007), wanna try and be the first one and be on the history books?

 

aside: readers outside the Philippines, please check your local anti-sexual harassment law. Thank you

Disclaimer: The articles found on this blog does not constitute legal advise, and engagement/discussion does not signify professional client relationship. Likewise, subsequent court and administrative rulings, or changes to, or repeal of, laws, rules and regulations may have rendered the whole or part of this article inaccurate or obsolete.

 

 

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